Flavored Beer Dominates Share Gainers

FILED MAY 9, 2013

Dear Client:

The most striking thing about the latest all-channel scan data coming out of IRI (four weeks to April 21) is the number of "non-beers" that are dominating the list of the biggest market share gainers. For our purposes here, we're going to look at dollar share rather than volume share, because as they say, you can't cash boxes in at the bank.

By far the biggest dollar share gainer at the moment is Bud Light Straw-Ber-Rita, with a whopping 1.4 share right out of the gate. I haven't seen such fast share gains like that since Smirnoff Ice was introduced. That's twice the share of the next largest gainer, Bud Light Lime-A-Rita at 0.7 share. The next biggest share gainer is Budweiser Black Crown at half a point of dollar share. So while A-B posted a dismal first quarter (weather, payroll taxes blah blah blah), the reality is that it was going right into the teeth of last year's Bud Light Platinum rollout. Platinum is losing 0.6 share points in the last four weeks. But going forward, it appears that Straw-Ber-Rita and Black Crown, when put together, will more than make up for the loss in Platinum. Much more. In fact, Straw-Ber-Rita and Black Crown together are just shy of 2 share points, and A-B believes that most of that dollar share is incremental (particularly Straw-Ber-Rita when you consider that Lime-A-Rita is still growing gangbusters). If this keeps up, A-B should post a markedly better Q2 unless Bud Light takes a turn for the worse. Also consider that the Bud Light 'Ritas are selling at around $35 a case, more than even Stella Artois. Another surprising share gainer that sells for more than $30 a case is Bud Light Chelada. People are drinking this stuff.

Of the top ten dollar share gainers in IRI, six of them aren't straight-up beer. You've got the two Bud Light 'Ritas, Redd's Apple Ale at 0.3 share points, Leine's Shandy at 0.2 points, Angry Orchard cider at 0.2 points, and Shock Top Seasonal at 0.1 point -- all flavored beers/cider, and most with higher alcohol than light beers.

We do have some traditional beers in the top ten: Bud Black Crown at half a point, Modelo Especial gaining 0.3 points, Michelob Ultra (the only light beer in the top 15 share gainers) and Dos Equis gaining 0.1 points each. Other brands gaining around 0.05 to 0.1 of a share point are Stella Artois, Blue Moon, Rolling Rock (at very discounted pricing), Sam Adams variety pack, Pabst Blue Ribbon, Coors Light and Coors Banquet.

Of the top 25 dollar share gainers in April, A-B has nine of them and MillerCoors has five. That seems to be something MillerCoors is aiming to fix when you consider Andy England's remarks in their conference call earlier this week about moving faster on the innovation front.

Other big share gainers on the craft beer front are Lagunitas IPA and good ol' steady Sierra Nevada. Yes, Torpedo is also a big share gainer, but it's amazing to me the staying power of Pale Ale when you consider that the brand is 33 years young and still growing. Another big craft share gainer that is an old flagship is Shiner Bock.


ED. NOTE: Many readers have reported not getting an issue of BBD on Tuesday morning, May 7, which featured an interview with Stella Cidre brand director Rick Oleshak. If you missed that issue, you can read it here: http://www.beernet.com/publications_daily.php?id=2930

Until tomorrow, Harry

"The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true."
-James Branch Cabell

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